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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went into my two hives today to remove the mite strips before winter.
They were both a little light. I've fed them heaps but not for the last few weeks as it's been near freezing.
I put a large bucket of 2.1 on each. It was a sunny day and I think most bees actually made it back in thankfully.
We get a full freeze from now till March. Can I leave buckets on all winter? I imagine they'll freeze but something is better than nothing, right? Thanks for any replies.
 

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It would be helpful to fill out the profile so folks know where you are. What works in one geographical location may not be appropriate in another, and there may also be someone here who is close enough to you to offer good localized advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm in the Selkirk mt's of BC. I suppose I'm looking for anyone in a freezing area that'll know about mid-winter feeding. It isn't as cold as the prairies, and it does go above freezing at certain times but generally freezes again in the evening. Thanks.
 

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I set my hives up for fall / winter / spring feedings.
I place an empty box on top of the hive and wrap my hives in felt paper.
When daily temps are in the upper 20's F and higher with sunshine, I've found that they will use feeders or granular sugar.
I have set granular sugar on paper on the top bars for winter feeding. When the cluster moves up and hits the paper and sugar they will chew through the paper and eat the sugar.
 

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when you say granualr, do you mean regulartable sugar? i'm pretty sure they would need a water source to use granular sugar.
 

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Well, we dissolve solid sugar by moistening it with saliva. According to the books, bees also dissolve solid sugar by moistening it with saliva.

Sometimes we read on these sites that bees need to fly out and bring back water when fed dry sugar. But, is that the case? They aren’t making sugar soup.

Certainly moisture is needed by bees just the same as we need to take moisture into our bodies. The moisture can often come from the inside of the hive, I’d suppose.
 

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Water for hive use comes from many sources.
The cluster produces moisture.
This moisture condenses in the hives and the colony uses this water to dilute honey for use, re-liquefy crystallized honey, and use granular sugar.
Liquid honey is the state that bees store their food in. They have to dilute honey to use it.
 

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Sugar is also hydrophillic (not quite as much as honey but still, it is) and it absorbs a lot of moisture from the air, which comes from the bees "burning" honey. Also the bees can lick condensation off of the interior of the hive in the winter.

The actual water content of crystalized honey (or syrup) and honey is actually the same. One is just supersaturated and the other has formed crystals.

As far as dry sugar, there is always moisture in the "dry" sugar which got soaked up from the air. Just because it's still a crystal does not mean it's not "wet".
 

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have you fellows ever dumped table sugar on the landing board (where it could more freely collect dew) and watched what happens? the bees can consume a certain portion, but the rest becomes a mini-mountainscape of crystal. You see them crawling on it, looking at it, looking at me for being so dumb to put it there, etc. But my point is if you are taking the position that you don't have to add liquid to table sugar then I'd like to see that one debated.
 

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ive seen somewere were a frame or two were removed and sugar was poured into the hive it looked like a lot of sugar.is this a good idea, will the bees remove what is left in the spring
 

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>But my point is if you are taking the position that you don't have to add liquid to table sugar then I'd like to see that one debated.

Why debate it? Every beekeeping book that I have every read discusses emergancy with dry sugar. People feed with fonts, candies, etc, and bees eat honey naturally. They ALL require water for bees to consume them.

I have been putting granular sugar on paper and the top bars for years. In fact about half of my hives have already gone through what I set up a few weeks ago. This year I set up granular sugar early while I am still feeding syrup. I placed 4 - 5#'s per hive. It works for me.

As far as putting granular sugar on the landing board, I would be concerned with with pests being drawn to the hive, mice, wasps, etc. Also, on the landing board it will not be used when it's cold.
The cluster moves vertical during winter. Food located below them is almost useless as it will most likely not be used till next spring.

[ November 29, 2005, 06:51 AM: Message edited by: MountainCamp ]
 

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I have never poured sugar into the space of a removed frame. I would think that it would migrate down till everything became plugged up. The bees would only be able to work on it from the edges. If it were cold and they were clustered on the otherside of the box, it would not help.
Placing sugar on the top bar on paper put sugar where the cluster can get at it and work it. You can also add more sugar as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Mountaincamp- to clarify this one more time- Are you putting several pounds of sugar on a piece of paper, on top of the frames?
Would cardboard be good- or sometihng like newspaper pulled tight, and pouring it on?
Never thought of this, and it might do the trick for a weak hive where the syrup'll freeze. Hope to hear back.
 

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I pour anywhere from 2 to 5# or more if the hive is using it quick.
I use newspaper because the bees can chew through without much trouble or work. Cardboard would require more work and energy to chew through.
Some pictures on page 3 & 4 of pictures section on my site.
With the hive wrapped with black flet paper and because of the sugar content, syrup will not freeze till temps are well below 20F ambient. The actual freezing point will vary based on sugar content.
 

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Will, the large paper kitchen towels are about the right size and work fine. I dampen the towel, spread it across the frames (wait for any bees to get out of the way) and heap about 5 lbs of sugar on it. Some of the sugar ended up on the screened bottom board insert. :cool:
 

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Every beekeeping book that I have every read discusses emergancy with dry sugar. People feed with fonts, candies, etc, and bees eat honey naturally. They ALL require water for bees to consume them.
Yes. I personally have never fed dry granulated sugar. I have fed bee fudge, fondant, bee candy or whatever term one wishes to use in late winter when the bees were nearly out of food. The bees did not fly out and collect water to mix with their sugar since the weather was too cold for flying. While a small amount did end up on the bottom board, most of the fondant was gone. I can only assume that it ended up in the bees' digestive systems.
 

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Here’s a brief description from Eva Crane:

“The proboscis is raised to mouth level and is grasped and steadied by the mandibles so that an airtight joint is formed. The galeae and labial palps are brought together to form a tube round the glossa, and this is the food canal. Liquid food is drawn (sucked) into the mouth through the tube. Solid food such as sugar cannot be imbibed in the same way; it is first moistened with saliva discharged along the interior of the glossa, and scrubbed with the bristly labellum, until some dissolves. The resulting solution is then lifted by the glossa and taken into the food canal. Solid particles with a diameter between 100 and 200 µm are caught between stylets in the mouthparts, and are not ingested.”

So, what is she saying? It reads to me as though she is saying bees use spit to dissolve dry sugar just like we humans do, except their saliva gets to the sugar a bit differently than ours does.
 
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